For close to four months, protests have raged in Hong Kong. During that time, United States President Donald Trump has been a somewhat inconspicuous bystander. Last month, he described the upheaval as "a very tough situation" but praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for acting "very responsibly" - no matter the reports of excessive police brutality and Chinese troop build-ups along Hong Kong's border with the mainland.
The US President, it seemed, didn't want to complicate his ongoing trade war with Beijing by opening a new front of tensions. Mr Trump's former top diplomat in Hong Kong even described the protests earlier this summer as a "second-tier" matter.